Texting parents

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SouthernBuckeye, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    Oct 24, 2013

    I was just curious if any of you use texting as a means to contact parents, as opposed to phone calls and emails. I never heavily used texts for parents until this year, because with the demographics of the school I am at, it's honestly easier to reach via texting. Many parents will not pick up the phone and talk, but if you shoot a text you have a response within 30 seconds.

    Of course, I wouldn't do this if I didn't work in a very technology friendly district. All the teachers have their own laptop issued by the school system. All the principals have an iPhone paid for by the district and sometimes our P texts us staff reminders with it. When I was having problems reaching certain parents on the phone, my coworker who had my students in 6th grade said to text the same parents (and she was right--I got really quick replies).

    I have also found having all the texts saved is great documentation because they are time/date stamped and I know who said what. Plus, apps like Google Voice allow you to text without giving away your actual phone number, if you want. I have certain parents who will text me every day asking for behavior updates and the like. It's much more efficient than a phone call, because those always seem to turn into 30 minute phone conferences.

    Today I had the first negative incident ever regarding texting, I think. I teach a child who is extremely disruptive daily, and today he was blurting out "What the f-------" while I was trying to teach. So I sent mom a text about it, and she replied to me with something that could be interpreted as threatening (like saying if I keep talking about her child I'd have a big problem with her and that I'm the problem not her child). I screen capped it and emailed the conversation to my P, and my P emailed me back tonight and said that the parent actually called another administrator today trying to apologize for what she had sent to me (so, my P is going to call the parent tomorrow and straighten it out). My P said that the parent's behavior toward me was not going to be tolerated. So I think it's vital that a P will back up the teachers if teachers are going to communicate with texting.

    So...do you ever text parents? What do you use texting for?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 24, 2013

    I learned to text when a friend first underwent Chemo... she wanted to have friends to complain to in the middle of the night.

    Now I use it primarily to let my kids know I'm outside their friends' house... in the vein of "I'm here."

    I'm simply not a phone person.

    There's something to be said about having to take a minute or two to forumulate your thoughts before sending them out to someone.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 24, 2013

    I text no one. I'm a huge emailer...most people have email and it seems most people have a smart phone which provides email access. (I don't have such a fancy phone, though.)
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Yeah... parents don't need to know my personal cell phone number, period. I do love to email over calling though. I hate talking on the phone. Or talking to adults in person.
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I was very reluctant to start doing it, but also find that parents will read it more quickly and respond. Often it's them asking a quick question and it's easy to just text back. My only problem is that they will text something during the day (I don't even have my phone out during class) like "don't put them on the bus" or something. I tell them upfront if I need to know right away, call the office, but that doesn't always work. I also like having the documentation of a conversation.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    No. I don't text parents.

    I have a prepaid phone. I use it very little. I won't pay for parent texts.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 24, 2013

    I email with my I school email account. The only parents I text are those of students I tutor.
     
  9. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Oct 24, 2013

    Are you using Remind 101 to do the texting? That's the only way I'd text parents. I love using technology in the classroom and for some parent communication, but not all. I personally would be bothered by parents texting me daily for behavior updates.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 24, 2013

    Yrs, I text parents
    Why??
    Texting=30 seconds. Calling =Often a whole lot longer.
     
  11. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I can see the usefulness, and if I had a school-issued phone I would probably use it to text parents. HOWEVER, I am extremely uncomfortable with giving my personal cell phone number to parents - uncomfortable to the point that I will not do it. I have an iPhone and I use it all the time to check email, surf the internet, go on instagram and Facebook, text my friends - it's something I want for personal use. If I had notifications of parents texting me, especially if it was after school hours or on weekends, I would feel like I could never leave school - I could never stop being "teacher" and be myself for awhile. I check my e-mail very frequently, and I don't mind getting e-mails from parents at any time or day, because I can always wait to reply. I can also avoid checking my work e-mail when I want a day or so to decompress. Parents only have my work e-mail. I won't give out my personal e-mail either.

    I just can't be on call 24/7. It's not how I operate. It would be extremely stressful for me.
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 24, 2013

    Press *67 and that will block any call from your phone number.
     
  13. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I don't think that works for texting, though. And for the parents to initiate a texting conversation, they would have to have your personal cellphone number in the first place, right?
     
  14. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    I believe the OP uses Google Voice to send texts. In which case, it is not your personal cell.
     
  15. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I text parents from my personal phone. A lot of the students and parents have my phone number. It really hasn't been abused. I tend to respond to the kids who message me pretty quickly. But if a parent texts me at night, I just don't respond until the next day if I don't want to.

    I've really had no issue with it.
     
  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    That's interesting! I have heard of Google Voice, but I admit to knowing nothing about it.
     
  17. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    One of the teachers at my school has used Remind 101 with great success.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    As a rule I don't give my cell number out to parents but I did text with one of my parents last year. She was a huge worrier and it honestly saved me a ton of time. She could send me a quick text and I could respond back in one minute rather than having daily phone calls that would turn into 15-20 minute conversations. She didn't abuse it.
     
  19. bros

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    Oct 25, 2013

    Basically it gives you a free number in your area code to give out - you can access voicemails online.

    https://www.google.com/voice
     
  20. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    No way. School phone or email with school account. One time I had to call a parent from my cell phone because the school phones were not working...the parent decided that he should call me any time of day. I never answered when I saw his number and I think he figured out it wasn't appropriate.
     
  21. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    I do with some... the ones I can trust to not abuse it. I rather text. I only have 11 SPE kids and only 2 or 3 actually text me. 1 on a regular basis because her son has seizures and it is quicker for her to text a line to let me know how he did during the night. Most of my parents don't want to be bothered. LOL So, it is no biggies.
     
  22. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    I haven't had any parents bother me after hours or on weekends, but if they did, I would simply wait until 8 AM Monday to respond and lead with "I only check texts from parents during regular work hours..." and then tack on my reply to that.
     
  23. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Oct 27, 2013

    I use Remind 101 for texting kids & parents, so I send one out every Monday morning to let parents know what Monday Night Homework's assignment specifically is. I also have an account for Chess Club and for my Advisory Class. Other than that, no I don't use my personal texts on my phone.
     
  24. Lovetoteach15

    Lovetoteach15 Rookie

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    I do text parents fairly regularly from my personal cell phone. I don't give out my number to all parents but I do for several and so far I have only had one parent call me at night. It didn't bother me. I find it to be a quicker way to answer a question without having to have a lengthy conversation.
     
  25. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Remind 101 is awesome. I send out mass reminders for my after school running club.
     
  26. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I don't text parents. I don't want them having my personal phone number, as some others have mentioned.

    I would be interested in using Google Voice, but we're not allowed to use any Google apps in my district :rolleyes:
     
  27. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I do text parents. The vast majority of my kids' parents don't answer their phones, have "full" voice mailboxes, and don't have (or at least, don't give me) email addresses. It is the most expedient (and least disruptive to my classroom) way to have quick contact with the parents, especially regarding behavior.
     
  28. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Out of curiosity, for those of you who text parents, do other teachers in your school do that as well? I'm wondering if it's partially a school culture kind of thing. It's very uncommon at my school.
     
  29. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I know more teachers who do it now than who don't.

    I was very wary to give out my number, I haven't done it since my first year teaching. I haven't had any parents contact me off hours at all. They will respond to a text from me, or I'll respond to one from them, but even that's very rare. When I sent out the information I was waiting for the flood of calls-but not once so far this year.
     
  30. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    We used to have "classroom" phones. They were useless then, and don't work at all now. We weren't even trained on how to retrieve our messages on them. Of course now, that's a moot point, lol.
     
  31. bros

    bros Phenom

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    That's odd. Is it because the tech guys don't want to help if it gets broken or what? Doesn't make much sense. Google's mail for businesses/schools is leagues better than a microsoft outlook server.
     
  32. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Board policy about storing student information on outside servers. However, we use a web-based gradebook system and a web-based testing data server. It really makes no sense. Our jobs would be so much easier if we could use Google docs!
     
  33. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Odd policy, especially considering the gradebook and testing data, but whatever. You should check if google voice would violate that, as you obviously wouldn't be communicating any sensitive identifying information over text, you'd probably just send out little things like "Johnny did good today" or "Tonight's homework is xyz".

    Might be worth asking the tech guys if you could use google voice to text, because you don't want parents having your cell phone number.
     

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